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City of Calgary outdoor skating rink closed for the season due to budget cuts

City of Calgary outdoor skating rink closed for the season due to budget cuts
WATCH: Calgary is going to be without two city-maintained outdoor skating rinks this winter. As Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports, budget cuts are behind the closure of a popular downtown rink.

There will be no skating this year at Prince’s Island Park in downtown Calgary.

The popular outdoor skating location that is normally flooded and maintained by the city has fallen victim to budget cuts.

“We did get some direction from council that there were budget cuts and service reductions so we did have to move in that direction,” said Justin Brown, superintendent of parks for the city.

READ MORE: Calgary community pools saved as council votes down cost-saving proposals

It has left members of the Eau Claire Community Association disappointed.

Board director Daniel Wolfe said the rink is important not just for those who live in the inner-city neighbourhood but for all the people the rink brings in.

“It’s nice to have our urban park, Prince’s Island Park,” Wolfe said.

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“Not just the lights and the view of Calgary in the background but it has a nice skating rink. People love coming down and skating, and they also have curling there. It’s good for the economy here.”

People walking through Prince’s Island Park on Monday noticed the “Rink Closed” signs.

“They used to have a rink here,” said former Calgary resident Bill Squires out for a stroll.

“That was fabulous. We used to bring the grandkids to skate here. It was just terrific. This is such a beautiful island and they’re just not taking advantage of it.”

Prairie Winds Park rink closure

Angela Friestad loves winter and the idea of strapping on skates and enjoying some outside ice time with her son at Prairie Winds Park.

“It’s great exercise, you can enjoy the weather and just have everyone come out,” Friestad said.

“It’s good for low-income families as well that can just come out and enjoy what the city can keep open for us.”

READ MORE: Calgary’s mobile skate parks closing in September due to budget cuts

The outdoor rink at Prairie Winds Park in the northeast is one of eight outdoor skating rinks maintained by the City of Calgary.

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Only one of two rinks at Prairie Winds Park will be open this season. There’s no word on whether the Prince’s Island Park Lagoon or Prairie Winds Park north rink will be open again next year.

“We need to keep them open if we can and have the kids out. We need them, especially on Christmas break,” Friestad said.

The Olympic Plaza rink is open now and the rest of the city’s outdoor rinks, including Bowness Park Lagoon and Carburn Park, are scheduled to open on Christmas Eve.